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Zen and Fatherhood

by Bruce Linton

When I became a lay Buddhist monk 37 years ago I never imagined becoming a father or that I my children would teach me the life truths I had been trying to understand through meditation and dharma study.

There is a story about a Zen monk who wants to become an archer. He seeks out the finest Zen archery teacher in all of Japan. He asks to become his student and how long his training will last. The teacher says, “It will take your whole life.” The monk says “What if I really apply myself very diligently?” The teacher says, “Then it will take you only 30 years.” But says the monk, “What if I double my efforts, how long would it take me then?”  The teacher says, “Then it will take you 70 years.” But says the monk  “How could it take me 70 years if I am redoubling my efforts!” The teacher says “Because you are so impatient, it will take you longer.”

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Who Was Your Father…Who Are You?

by Bruce Linton, Founder of the Fathers’ Forum

What was silent in the father speaks in the son, and often I found in the son the unveiled secret of the father. Friedrich Nietzsche

When men become fathers, they are confronted with a profound challenge to understand what “father” means to them. Most men are perplexed by this. In both my personal and professional lives, I have searched to understand why becoming a father is such an uncertain experience for today’s men.

In the fathers’ groups I have led, most men look to their own fathers as examples of how to be parents. Reflecting on their own fathers’ behavior often leaves them feeling sad, lonely, frustrated, angry and ambivalent. In our group, together, we struggle to understand and make peace with our fathers. Many of the men in my groups feel very limited by having a father who was either physically or emotionally absent from their lives. We try to understand how we can be more available and more emotionally connected with our families. Some of the men who had abusive fathers become fearful and wonder if they might hurt their own children. If we must rely on our own personal fathers as teachers or mentors on parenting, we may feel limited. To understand himself as a man, each of us must come to an understanding of his own father and his father’s influence on his life, both positive and negative.

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Parents of Children With Disabilities Get Help From Technology

Amy Williams, Contributing Editor

The moment you hear you are going to be a parent is a life changing moment. The anticipation and birth of a child is a celebration. A time filled with great joy. BUT sometimes life throws in an extra chromosome or an impairment that catches us off guard. Like all children, our babies with special needs are still cherished and present unique challenges for a new parent.

Dealing with an infant who is born with a disability might be overwhelming in the beginning, but with a little love and guidance it is possible to enjoy this childhood stage. Thankfully, in the last couple of decades, modern technology has advanced and allowed a myriad of opportunities for parental empowerment when it comes to raising a child with disabilities.

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Lack of Sleep on New Parents

“How does the sleep deprivation experiment affect you as a couple?” This was the theme that emerged from our Father’s Group this week. Baby’s sometime, it appears, can survive without sleep…but not so for mom and dad.

Although I am approaching this in a light hearted way…well the truth is really this is quite a serious problem for all new parents or parents of multiple children when a “new addition” comes along. I am not going to talk about strategies or solve this problem. I just want to bring into the conversation the impact that lack of sleep has when you are trying to work, be a parent and deal with the complexities of life without enough sleep.  It is really difficult to do.

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